Creating Your Connected Classroom
After deciding you want to connect your classroom, it’s time to think about how you will implement it! This includes establishing your connected classroom and planning how you will go global in it.
Establishing Your Connected Classroom
A good place to start is to create an online learning space for “always on” learning. This means that your classroom has a blog, website, or Google Classroom page which will be the hub for all connected learning activity.
You should decide how you’ll use this central online learning space since you can use it in a variety of ways. You can post lessons, photos and videos of learning in your classroom, incorporate student blogging, and make it your home base for all resources used in your classroom. The possibilities for this space are endless!
It’s important to make sure parents are kept informed of what’s going on in your connected classroom, specifically the online learning space. This is very important if the online learning space is open to the public. Parents will appreciate knowing about what will be shared in the space. Will their child’s photo be posted? Their work? Sending home a letter at the beginning of the year (or whenever you start connecting your classroom) to set the expectation of what technology students will be working with, sharing the reasons why you want the classroom to be connected, explaining if students will be connecting with others outside of your classroom, and what will be shared on the class online learning space is a good idea.
A well-thought-out plan will help you be prepared for your first year of the connected classroom and beyond. While you may not be able to plan every aspect of how you’ll use technology in your classroom, having an idea of how you’ll connect with the world will set you up for success.
The connected classroom provides a window into the classroom to parents, but it can also be a window to the world for your students. You can use the connected classroom to build lessons that give your students ways to connect with students from around the world.
It’s a good idea to start small with global projects and collaborations as you’re trying them out. Once you’ve found global projects you and your students enjoy, you can explore ways to expand these projects.
A great first step is to bring video chat into the classroom. Platforms such as Skype or Google Hangouts are an easy way to connect to another classroom or an expert in a field your students are studying. Here’s two simple ways to connect your class globally.
Connect With Another Class
If you’re using Skype, or Google Hangouts, a 20 Questions game could be a fun way to connect to other classrooms around the globe. Arrange to connect with another classroom beforehand but don’t let your students know where they are. Using yes or no questions (and in less than 20 questions), your students try to discover where the classroom you’ve connected with is in the world.
Before you connect with the other class, have your students research the area you live in – think geography, population, climate. Once you’ve got this information, your students are ready to solve a mystery! The classroom you’ve connected with has done similar background research, so classrooms will go back and forth asking yes or no questions until they figure out the location of the other end of the video chat.
Skype An Expert
It can be difficult to get guest speakers to take such a large part of their day to travel and speak in your classroom. Using video chat can help take the stress away from your guest speaker getting to your classroom since they can talk with your students from their home or office. You’ll be able to expand the reach of your guest speaker asks too, since geography is not a deterring factor. The next time you schedule a guest speaker, offer the video chat option!
If you’re interested in connecting your classroom, stay tuned! We’re launching a new cohort of The Connected Teacher microcredential, a year-long mentorship program designed to help you connect yourself and your classroom to the world.
Get a free preview of The Connected Teacher microcredential by downloading our digital download “3 Simple Ways to Create a Connected Classroom.” This infographic was designed to help you connect your classroom with others around the globe. Get it here.
Be on the lookout for more resources about the connected classroom and for more information about our upcoming microcredential The Connected Teacher. The Connected Teacher will help you build and maintain a connected classroom, transform student learning through local and global connections, and leverage the power of local and global connections as a teacher and a learner. Registration for the next cohort of The Connected Teacher beginning in November is now open! Learn more about this exciting opportunity here.